tv [untitled] July 14, 2012 2:00am-2:30am PDT
supervisor mar, aye. supervisor olague, aye. president chiu: could you call items 40 through 43? >> the 4:00 p.m. special item is comprised of items 40 through 43 for public hearing of persons interested in the planning commission's decision certifying a final environmental impact report for the proposed renovation of the beach chalet athletic fields, export facility at 1500 john f. kennedy drive along the western edge of golden gate park. item 41 is the motion affirming the planning commission certification of the final environmental report and item 42 is reversing and 43 is a motion directing the preparation of findings. president chiu: we have the
appeal of the final environmental impact report for the proposed beach chalet project. for this hearing we will hear and consider the adequacy, accuracy, sufficiency, and completeness of the final er. -- eir. we will hear from the appellants and then take public comment from individuals of the public who wish to speak on behalf of the appellants. each speaker will have up to two minutes to present. we will hear from the planning department who have 10 minutes to describe the grounds for their certification of this environmental impact report. we will hear from the real party in interest. we will hear from person speaking on behalf of the real party in interest and finally, the appellants will have up to three minutes for rebuttal. unless there are any opening comments or any questions or objections to proceed, supervisor mar. supervisor mar: thank you.
golden gate park sits in district 1 but i know it is a treasured resource that belongs to all of us and everyone in san francisco. as a supervisor i have been following this process for several years now and it is one that requires us to look carefully with the appellants at to ocean edge and the richmond community association, the golden gate park preservation alliance and others. their attorney as well. a really well respected environmental attorney. balancing strong concerns about environmental sustainability with tremendous need in our neighborhood for much improved and renovated play fields and i know that there is often in this debate today, there will be passionate people from both sides in my hope is we focus on the environmental impact reports -- report's adequacy and
completeness and thoroughness and do our best to focus on what is before us, is it adequately -- is it adequate as well? i played soccer through middle school and i have had an opportunity to play on natural and synthetic fields whether it is washington high school board member of the play practice fields and regular fields and i have seen first hand how other fields like silber terrace can transform a neighborhood to make it safer and much more improved. as the appellants will raise and our department of planning and debris and of the infirm and an rec and park will counter in different ways, i have looked at a lot of the national, statewide, and local studies in my hope is we will look carefully at what the studies say and what our experts in our city departments respond to the various environmental concerns. a march letter from superintendent frank deem from the national park service golden
gate national recreation area that makes important points about how we need to coordinate this project with the golden -- ocean beach master planning progress and we have been a part of this and important concerns raised by superintendent dipane by -- about bird migration and dark skies and other issues. i am hoping we focus on significant or other impacts on those issues. as supervisor for the richmond district, i have to listen to the residents of the inner richmond and other parts of the park who have some concerns also of the impact of traffic and perhaps new families and people that will come in to visit the fields if we approve the project so i am looking at how the hours and the lighting can be mitigated if the project moves forward as well. i am looking forward to this debate and appeal and will be weighing carefully in favor of
families while trying to protect the environment as well. looking forward to this appeal. thank you. president chiu: thank you. supervisor chu. supervisor chu: i have heard from the residents of my neighborhood and close to the project site and it wanted to thank you in advance for the comments you have provided to our office by e-mail, by telephone, by mail and also for folks to come out today. i look forward to hearing the proceedings and listening to the facts of the case and did -- to determine whether the eir is sufficient. thank you. president chiu: thank you. why do we hear from the opening argument by the appellant. -- why don't we hear from the opening argument by the appellant. >> i am an attorney and a chemist also representing the
sierra club, audubon society, sf ocean edge, speak, and richmond community association and they're over 60,000 members. i am a parent. i am a little league coach. my wife coaches my daughter's little league team and my son play soccer. i believe kids need places to play in the city. there's not enough of them -- we should have more field space but kids need natural areas where they can enjoy nature. in this heavily urbanized city there are very few of those. the western end of golden gate park is one of the few areas. last week and i rode up the highway with my kids and we went to be to l.a.. the kids played in the woods and they felt like we were a few miles -- we were a few miles away from home and they felt like we were a million miles
away in the forest. it is important to preserve these dark sky, natural areas and this is one of the few that are left in the city. luckily, we can have both. our organizations have proposed the hybrid alternative to put artificial turf and night lighting and west sunset playground which is developed as a playground. six soccer fields can be accommodated whereas only four can be accommodated at beach l.a.. at the same time we should restore beach l.a. with very good, high-quality natural turf, go for approving and mash and good drainage. that will create 900 hours more play time than the proposed alternative while protecting the unique natural resources that is golden gate park. in the city, san francisco and new york are unique and having these great natural areas in the heart of the heavily urbanized city.
new york has managed to keep central park natural. there is no artificial turf, and no night lighting. san francisco should do the same and i believe especially because it is within the coastal zone protected by the california coastal commission. the coastal commission will require this area to create natural. i would like to focus on four issues that render the eir legally inadequate. first the eir fails to consider the hybrid alternative at all. for some reason, the city staff refused to consider this very rational hybrid alternative which meets all the project goals and avoids all the impact and gets even more player hours for the kids. that is restoring beach l.a. with good grass, good drainage, and gopher controls and renovating more lighting. this would create more play hours. the irs does consider simply moving the project to west sunset entirely.
interesting, the final eir starts -- states the west sunset alternative attaints most of the project's objectives, avoids the significant impact of the projects and it is feasible under ceqa if an alternative achieves the objectives, is feasible, and avoids the impact, ceqa requires the city to adopt the alternative. the eir is inadequate because it fails to adopt this feasible alternative that reduces projected impact while providing the play hours. the er is inadequate because it fails to acknowledge that the project is inconsistent with the general plan. the san francisco general plan, the master plan states the park -- the western end of golden gate park should be simply be treated as it would lander forest. the golden gate master plan states that additional lighting is not intended to increase
night use. but only intended for safety. the general plan states natural areas of golden gate park should remain as they are and any move to convert them into areas of more active recreation should be discouraged. the local coastal plan says the city must emphasize the naturalistic landscapes qualities of the west end of the park. putting 150,000 watts of flooding on a 60 foot post, at 10 60 foot post and lighting the west end of the park like star wars is inconsistent with the local and general plan. the irs fails to balance that and it would be an abuse of discretion to approve a project that is patently inconsistent with those planning documents. 3, the eir fails to analyze the
lighting impact of the project. we hired the world's foremost lighting consultant from the netherlands who concluded that the eir improperly analyzes the impact of 1002001 s, especially the eir does not analyze fog scatter. anyone who has been out to the western end knows it is foggy out there. fox getter increases light intensity by 10 to 20 times. d.r. concludes that -- the eir concludes that the fog will produce light. we believe the eir is equipped -- is inadequate because it fails to analyze alternatives. there are a lot of studies reaching different conclusions about sbr rubber. the cancer risk is above one in 1 million which is the ceqa significant threshold.
our expert who used to run the epa superfund program concludes the cancer risk is 19 in 1 million. 19 times above the sec was significance of threshold. the city's response said it is 8-1 million. that is eight times above the ceqa significant threshold. if you live next to the chevron refinery you are exposed to a cancer risk of 8.4 in 1 million. about the same as playing soccer on sbr chrome rubber. the eir out to analyze -- ought to analyze alternatives and we have proposed good, safe alternatives. los angeles is using acrylic coated sand. they are still using astroturf but they are using sand as the base and they have had good results. new york is using basically carpet pad. a thick rubber pad under the turf because of health concerns. even piedmont and san carlos
have installed cork to underline their astroturf. san francisco which calls itself the greatest city in america should not be falling behind new york to los angeles, san carlos, and piedmont. the eir is inadequate because it refused to consider those alternatives. the eir could look at the alternatives, priced about my determine what is feasible and with the costs and benefits are but to ignore the alternatives renders the document legally inadequate. i would also like to raise the coastal zone appeal. there is another appeal issue here and that is the coastal permit. this is within the local coastal zone. that means the matter has to be appealed to the board of permit appeals. that is scheduled for august 1. the board of permit appeals may accept or reject the project in which case the action you take today may be much -- the project
may be different than what is proposed today. also the coastal commission has written to the city staff claiming the city has "misled the public" about the beach l.a. project. that is strong language. i have never seen that language to claim the city has misled the public. the city has told the public this project is not appealable. that is wrong. the coastal commission has informed the city that is wrong and informed the city they have to read as notice and the decision is not a final action. for that reason. the board of permit appeals hearing is august 1. that will certainly be appealed to the california coastal commission. the coastal commission rejected an almost identical project in malibu. malibu high school wanted to build an astroturf athletic field with night lighting in the coastal zone.
the commission limited it to 18 nights of letting per year. if the coastal commission act consistently with this project because then the coast -- is in the coastal zone, 18 nights will not achieve the project objective. we will have far more play at west sunset. weston said is a win-win solution. it will avoid a train wreck that could delay this project for years. this could be delayed for years if it winds up in the courts. if we implement the hybrid alternative now, we could get the play fields and get the kids playing at west sunset and restore beach alley with good, natural grass, avoid the night lighting, keep the dark sky area that can be enjoyed by families and everyone and it can be a win-win solution. we urge this board to disapprove of the environmental impact report to my project the certification, and adopt the hybrid alternative. i would be happy to take any
questions. president chiu: thank you. any questions to the appellant? supervisor wiener: a couple of things. i made a comment before about the ceqa standard about feasible alternatives. it is possible i misheard you but i want to make sure i understand your position on that aspect of ceqa. i heard you say that if there is a feasible alternative that is less impeccable, the city is required to go with that alternative, is that what you are saying? >> yes, supervisor. there is the preservation action council vs. san jose. if there is an alternative that would reduce projected impact and if that is found to be feasible, the lead agency must adopt the alternative. the city has taken a different legal position. i think they are legally wrong. >> let's say we are talking about the -- a playground, a
large playground and we have five different sites we're evaluating and they're all feasible. it is all possible to put them there in a reasonable way. but if the city in consultation with community groups and going through an entire process has a strong desire and the community has a strong desire to say that for a variety of community-based reasons and one of the sites that is at the higher end of the impact scale, the eir is done, the impact is evaluated and disclosed and the community really wants it to be option 5 which is one of the more impact full ones but they're all feasible. is it your position that ceqa compels the city to place the playground in the least impact full of these visible areas? >> bsn now. there is a third factor. it is not just feasibility. it is visibility, impact, and
objective. the alternative has to meet all three. achieve the objectives, reduce project impacts, and beast -- be reasonable -- to be feasible. the other project alternatives perhaps do not achieve project objectives. supervisor wiener: that could be the case here as well. let's say west sunset is feasible. let's assume that west sunset is feasible and less impact full. then they beat l.a. location for this project. if the objectives of our park system of our community points toward beach l.a., are you still arguing that we would be compelled by ceqa to move it to west sunset? >> yes given the state of the information today because the final eir at xo 17 states the playground would attain the project's basic objectives. avoid the impact, and be feasible. those are the three ingredients
for an alternative that must be implemented. supervisor wiener: what if the shelle were to achieve those goals from the community's view or rec and park's view in a more appropriate way? i still saying that ceqa would compel going with the other feasible alternative? >> no. the information compels adoption of west sunset. >> there could be disputes about the fact but i wanted to clarify. ceqa does not somehow say that you do not get to choose. if there is something that is less impact will and feasible, ceqa somehow swoops in and forces you to do something that is not appropriate for the community. if we make that assumption which i know you dispute. >> ceqa is a disclosure law. as long as the impacts are disclosed, the city can issue a statement of overriding considerations but not if one of the alternatives is
environmentally superior or feasible and uses project objectives which is what the final uighur concludes about west sunset. supervisor wiener: i appreciate the clarification. it is the appellants position it would be appropriate to place artificial turf at west sunset? >> yes. supervisor wiener: that would be replacing green grass space, natural space with artificial turf? >> not really. i do not know if we have a picture we can show. i've played on the field, i have played on most of the fields in the city with my little league teams. it is heavily developed. it is baseball diamonds, softball diamonds, soccer fields already. it is not a naturalistic setting unlike beat l.a. which is nestled in this woodland area. supervisor wiener: beach l.a. has been a soccer field for 75 years? >> it has been. i assume you have been out there
as have my. it is within a heavily wooded area. you feel like you were out in nature. 500 feet from the ocean. it is one of the few dark sky areas that astronomers use. >supervisor wiener: i think this is a different issue. beach l.a. is being used as a soccer field. it is not like we're talking about turning an open meadow where people picnic or hike into turf. >> that is correct. they're talking about cutting down 60 trees and replacing only 12 which we also think is a violation of the general plan. there is going to be some expansion of the field area and removal of trees. it is a soccer field. it has been a soccer field. we want to keep a soccer field. we want it restored, we want the grass improved, we want new sod and gopher mesh. it is like chicken wire.
you as most of these kids, they do not love * to -- astroturf. they hate gophers. it keeps the gophers from popping up and you drain it. they did it at polo fields. >supervisor wiener: it is surrounded by a fence right now. >> that is correct. president chiu: supervisor campos. supervisor campos: i wonder if you could expand about the hybrid alternative that you discussed. if you could explain what you mean by that and was level of consideration, if any, was given to that by the rec and park department? >> thank you. the hybrid alternative is
something that we have been advocating for almost two years now. isam the reason that many of you are not familiar with it is because the are refuses to analyze it at all. that renders the document legally inadequate. the hybrid alternative would put artificial turf, hopefully safe artificial turf at west sunset and lighting. that is a very heavily developed field with stadium seating, with some level of lighting. it is used heavily. west sunset -- is bigger. 9.5 acres. beach l.a. is 7 acres. you get six soccer pitches at west sunset, three full-size and three u10. at beach l.a., where there is a four soccer fields, we would propose restoring that with natural grass, good drainage, and gopher proving.
keeping the area natural. that would allow you to take down the chain link fence and use -- be used much more frequently. rec and park hazlet beach l.a. go to pot and is a shame. i can understand why the players including my kids are frustrated with the state of beach l.a.. it does need to be restored. what the eir fails to do is consider doing both. park and rec is already proposing to restore west sunset fields with natural grass and beach l.a. with artificial turf. all the hybrid alternative does is flipped them, swap them so you put the artificial turf and lights that west sunset, the natural grass at beach l.a. and you get 900 hours more play hours with the hybrid alternative than park and rec's. it seems like a no-brainer and i do not understand why the city has gone to this length to take up this much energy and resources to force an alternative that gets you less
played hours and at the same time, the city acknowledges that their proposed alternative have significant unavoidable, irreparable impact on the historic resources of golden gate park. i want to emphasize what a treasure that part is, not just for the city but the world. people come from all over the world to visit the golden gate park because it is this beautiful, natural area. it is dark knight and that is a big deal. people go out there and build bonfires on the beach, they look at stars, it has become an amateur astronomer -- one of the few places where they can see the stars. that value, the naturalistic value would be protective with the -- protected with the hybrid alternative while providing more plea hours. supervisor chu: just a quick question with regard to the
alternative you are talking about. you keep referring to the fact of if you renovated west sunset you would see six fields and you talk about the hours and increased play time as it relates to adding six additional soccer fields. if i am understanding it correctly, that proposal would imagine you removing the to a baseball bat -- the two baseball diamonds. is that correct? >> no. they would be multi-use. they have soccer fields that can be used for both baseball, softball, or soccer. so you basically -- on astroturf is all pictures. you draw a picture of a soccer diamond and a picture of a baseball diamond and whenever you play you play on top of it. it is like the raiders and the oakland a's play on the same field. it looks funny but it works. the field could be multi-purpose where it could be used for baseball, softball, or soccer. we're not talking about removing
the baseball diamonds. as a little league coach, i could not advocate that. supervisor chu: the existing location has dedicated baseball fields and other fields to be soccer. you're saying create one big field, use it however you like. >> make it a multi-use field. similar to sunset. supervisor chu: you had talked about all the different alternatives. it failed to consider the alternatives. under the eir they did analyze a number of different options which included potentially having it done at sunset, having no renovation and all at golden gate park, having renovation at golden gate park with grass and the lighting, having renovation with grass with lighting and so there are a number of different combinations. i would imagine we could evaluate them. the eir does identify them. it may be so that they do not say this and that or a combination a and b and
alternatives see and be and at this together but the eir did leave out a number of different options. >> true, supervisor. it was presented as an either/or option. either have the project at west sunset or beach l.a.. there is no analysis of doing them both. restoring the jelly with natural grass and putting artificial turf and lighting at west sunset. if you look at it like it, mail, we're saying a and b. do them both. you can have th ebes -- the best of both worlds and avoid the significant impact of having star wars at the end of golden gate park. supervisor chu: you said it was simple and easy. but the lighting and artificial turf at west sunset and leave golden gate park as it is. you are saying it is less impact
full. is it less impact will to have the lighting at the residential area? right across the street from homes? >> it would be because there is lighting at west sunset. it is developed out as a play field. it is not in the coastal zone. the coastal commission is going to protect this the sound the way they did in malibu. i do not think the coastal commission will approve. supervisor chu: you had listed a number of different reasons why you thought the environmental document was inadequate and is thought the health impacts were not adequately discussed, reviewed, etc. and there were according to your opinion unsafe levels for the material that is being used. i am wondering how is it that you can say or make that comment but also suggest that it be put into west sunset? >> we're not suggesting the sbr astroturf be